The term HR, short for Human Resources, is dehumanizing and should go away.

I believe the term HR was created as a bridge term, like “web page” and “horse power”. Why do we use bridge terms? Because they provide mental short cuts that can help us create an emotional bridge from the scary to the safe, and our brains love methods that convert scary concepts into safe concepts.

When the internet seemed scary, the concept of a book with pages was familiar and emotionally comforting so our brains embraced the “web page” concept. Automobiles were also scary at first and the idea of the bridge term “horse power” was familiar and emotionally comforting. I suspect that “human resources” is also a bridge term borrowed from either “financial resources” or “physical resources”.

Eventually, we should to let go of bridge terms, and use more accurate, useful language. Today, we hopefully realize that the World Wide Web is not made up of actual book pages, and we could not reliably measure the pulling force difference between 400 actual horses and say 405 actual horses. Similarly, every time we use the term Human Resources, we train our brains to think of people as objects. This is dangerous, sad, and wrong. We need a new term, perhaps we might use “People Leadership”.

I know several others have made a case to change the term HR, and I doubt this blog post will change anything. However, for the record, I hate the term “HR”, and I encourage you to use another term.

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